Suzanne’s whole world changes at a very young age. On Tuesday, October 28, 1997, her father is killed by a drug-induced gunman rampaging through the bank he works on. After trick-or-treating on Halloween night, Suzie takes a bath and experiences ecstasy. It leaves her quite frightened and scared. She starts asking questions, but finds that the answers she is being given aren’t the ones she’s looking for. Almost as though she is an anomaly. For when she reaches ecstasy, time and space literally stop all around her.
Clearly the main focus of the series will be Suzie using her intriguing ability for a life of crime, as noted by the book’s title and book-ending pages. But I’m actually far more interested in the psychological affect the ability has on her, which is what Matt Fraction presents in this opening issue. Sex as a plot device is often times a double-edge sword, where in one instance can be used as art and in the other seen as smutty pornography. It’s a careful line writers have to worry about when they are truly interested in telling a fascinating story and I honestly believe Fraction has one on his hands. I don’t know how the crime portion of the tale will effect my enjoyment of the book, but I really like the way Fraction takes his time to really delve deep into the way Suzie is emotionally and mentally affected by what is happening to her.
It also helps that book is illustrated by a fine artist in Chip Zdarsky. While his drawings are far from realistic and stray enough away from being cartoony, they nonetheless accomplish evoking the panic that Suzie is feeling the moment her life changes. The manner in which he not only illustrates, but also colors the scenes where Suzie stops time is rather hypnotic and enhances the storytelling just enough to really allow for the impact of her ability to resonate. I also like the way Zdarsky concentrates on the facial expressions, really highlighting how Suzie takes to this ability of hers and the way it transform her existence. In many ways it is because of the artwork that I was able to become absorbed in the storytelling and wanted very much to read more about how Suzie tries to understand what she has.
The first issue of Sex Criminals is an intriguing and fascinating read. Matt Fraction has developed a unique story about a unique girl with a unique condition that makes one want to tag along with her in trying to figure out what is going on. The artwork by Chip Zdarsky helps in enhancing the storytelling, visualizing the scenes in a way that can leave readers in awe. I’m concerned with whether or not the crime element of the story will have a negative effect on the story, but at the very least this first issue is worth a high recommendation just for the way the story is being told at the moment.
What is the best way to use sex as the main plot device in a story? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.